Sunday, February 10, 2008

Guten morgen

Well, I think all the pilsener and wienerschnitzel has been flushed from my system, and I'm ready to write about my week in Berlin. What a trip!

In the purest sense, I was there for a coin show - the World Money Fair. Our company was promoting our full array of coin and paper money media properties, especially NumisMaster, our shiny new website that we think is best in class. We were also presenting our Coin of the Year Awards, which go out to mints from around the world. China was the honored country at the event, and they brought along my new friends in this picture.

Thankfully, we ventured out of the convention center a number of times. Some of it was for business related to the coin show. Our friends at the Royal Canadian Mint invited us to a reception at the Canadian Embassy, a gorgeous, modern architectural marvel built in a location where the Berlin Wall used to reside. We toured the Berlin Mint, and were able to catch 2-Euro coins coming off the line. A friend of ours at the German Ministry of Finance invited us to a press event at the Bundeskanzlerin, the German equivalent of the White House, where we came into close proximity with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Bundeskanzlerin was another magnificent modern building, sprinkled with the sort of old world elements you'd expect to see in Europe.

Aside from that, we were able to venture into small neighborhoods and take the train (subway workers are on strike) to downtown shopping areas, thoroughly enjoying it all. A personal highlight for me was walking into a dingy little comic book shop and finding the latest issue of Comics Buyer's Guide, with my name listed on the masthead. The punk teenager standing next to me didn't share my enthusiasm.

All in all, the people were so friendly. I expected the German mindset to be very serious, curt, especially toward Americans, but that was not the case at all. Most spoke English enough to help us get by, some were downright fluent. The food was terrific. One complaint: few water fountains or the type of bottled water we typically drink - mostly mineral water, yuck - which often left me feeling dehydrated.

Germany was not at the top of my list of places to visit in Europe, but it proved to be a wonderful destination, and I would not hesitate to go back.

Our team: Dave Harper, Tom Michael, Lisa Bellavin, and me at the Canadian Embassy. My past experience with work travel was proven true again: Canadians know how to have a good time.

This car, about as long as my legs, is apparently called the Smart Car. My suggestion, Death Trap, probably would have been nixed by the marketing department. People take this thing on the freeway - brave people.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. I have no idea what she said, but it went over well with the press.

Folks lined up around the block for the right to walk around the perimeter of the dome resting atop the Reichstag, Germany's legislative building.

Pretty sure this is where the German Cabinet meets. Lots of candy and drinks on the table; dehydrated, I was eying up a bottle of orange juice when a young, serious-looking security guard gave me a look that suggested taking the bottle would lead me to a less beautiful room in the Bundeskanzlerin.

Apparently over 12,000 people attended the World Money Fair. Most of them had showered in the past week.

Our Coin of the Year event attracted press from Italy, Latvia, Germany and elsewhere. It was paparazzi-esque, unusual for a coin show; we did have Miley Cyrus handing out the awards.


Anonymous said...

Where are photos of the zinc gutters and roofing? That's what the people want!

mjschwal said...

While your trip to Germany sounds great, I see that you did not have time to make it to Bad Schwalbach.

Now that's a destination!

Anonymous said...

Can't believe Toohey hasn't asked for Lisa Bellavin's phone number yet.

Will said...

These comments are funny.

Does sound like a great trip. Glad you had a good time.

mjschwal said...

Looks like she doesn't have a ring on. Go for it, Toohey!

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